South Korean right-hander shaky in 3rd straight pre-WBC outing

Charles Kim, March 2, 2017, 9:50 a.m.


SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korean right-hander Rhee Dae-eun looked shaky on Thursday in his third straight appearance before the upcoming World Baseball Classic (WBC). Rhee was touched for four runs on six hits in 1 2/3 innings in a practice game versus the military club Sangmu at Gocheok Sky Dome.

South Korea will host Israel, the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei in the opening round of the WBC beginning on Monday. And Rhee, one-time Chicago Cubs prospect, was selected as a potential starter in manager Kim In-sik's rotation.

The 27-year-old, though, has done little to justify a starting assignment. Against Cuba last Saturday, Rhee allowed a run on three hits in two relief innings. Then facing Australia out of the bullpen Tuesday, Rhee gave up two runs on two hits, including a home run, in just one inning.

On Thursday, Rhee served up three consecutive hits to let in two runs in the first inning against Sangmu, which competes in the Futures League, the Korean equivalent of the minor league.

South Korean pitcher Rhee Dae-eun (R) leaves the field during a practice game against Sangmu in preparation for the World Baseball Classic at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on March 2, 2017.

In the second, he loaded the bases with no outs on two hits and a hit-by-pitch, and Moon Sang-cheol hit a two-run double to right. Rhee was switched for reliever Won Jong-hyun before completing the second inning.

South Korea will have two left-handed starters, Chang Won-jun and Yang Hyeon-jong, at the top of the rotation. Manager Kim has been seeking a right-handed option for the third starting spot, with the majority of his right-handers being relievers, but Rhee has yet to live up to expectations.

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